Moving Past the Past

Harmony (Dust) Grillo Blog, Life After The Sex Industry, Straight from Harmony's Heart 14 Comments

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The “Old Me”

Moving Past the Past


A lot of people know me as the girl who quit stripping and started Treasures.  I am so thankful for all that God has done in my life…but He’s not done yet.  He didn’t finish with me the day I walked out of the strip club.  (Thankfully!)  He is active in my life and constantly doing a new thing.


 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? ?I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:18-19


God wants to do a new thing in all of us.  A fresh thing.  An unfamiliar thing.  Something we have never seen before.  He wants to make a way in those circumstances where there seems like there is no way.  But so often, we don’t see it.  All we can see are the former things.  Those things in our past that sap our time, energy, focus and attention and keep us from seeing all that God has for us.


God is asking us to forget the former things and to stop dwelling on the past. This doesn’t mean He expects us to have amnesia.  Even before this verse in the Bible, Isaiah lists out a few of the things God did in the past, referencing when God rescued the Israelites from their captivity and “made a way through the sea” for them.


God is not asking us to erase the past from our memories…but He is asking us not to dwell on it.  He is asking us not to regard the past more than we regard the work that He wants to do today.


Here are just a few of the “Former Things” that I believe distract us from the “New Thing” He wants to do in us.

  • The Pain
  • The Mistakes
  • The Good ol’ Days


Former Thing #1: The Pain

 Sometimes we let the pain from our past shape our future.  We carry around the pain from trauma, abuse, rejection, and abandonment and let them color everything around us.  Our eyes are stuck on a moment or a season that cause us pain and it is all we can see.


Our unresolved pain can manifest in things like anger, insecurity, self-harm, addiction, the list goes on.


What I have learned about pain is that I have to face it to overcome it.


And because so often our pain is connected to hurts that others have caused us, choosing forgiveness is a big part of facing the pain in our past.  Forgiving someone doesn’t mean what they did is “right”, but choosing to forgive means you’re not going to let the hurt define you.


In my own life, I have discovered the words of Maya Angelou to be true,Forgiveness issetting someone free and realizing the prisoner was you.”


The Bible also has a few things to say about forgiveness. 🙂


“And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.” Mark 11:25 (MSG)

Forgiveness is part of God’s plan for a healthy heart and a life of freedom.


Former Thing #2: The Mistakes

Sometimes it’s our mistakes that keep us dwelling on the past. We suffer from a case of the “Woulda Coulda Shouldas”.  When we focus on our mistakes, we begin to cave into feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame and all the other junk that keeps us from walking in the freedom that God has for us.


The truth is, not one of us is perfect.  We have all made mistakes, or as the bible puts it, we all “… fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)


Here is the truth…


God is BIGGER than your mistakes.


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9


God is bigger than everything you have ever done wrong. His grace is enough for all of it—Abortions, addictions, disappointed families, divorce, crimes you may have committed…


God’s grace and redemptive power are so incredible that He will take the very things we think disqualify us and use them for good!


If your past mistakes are the “former thing” you find yourself dwelling on, I believe the answer lies in confession.  Both to God, and a safe person.


Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  James 5:16

Confessionis a part of God’s plan for healing in your life.

Former Thing #3: The Good ol’ Days

  • That one relationship
  • When I had that
  • When I did that
  • That time I felt God’s presence

When we get stuck in a pattern of idealizing the past, we are never able to embrace the “new thing”.  We get so focused on what we have lost that we can’t see what God has for us.  Some of us have had to face some significant losses.  In order to move forward, there may need to be a grieving process.


A while back, a friend invited me to a grief recovery group.  Having just finished an in depth journey through the 12 Steps of Recovery (AKA Step Study) through Celebrate Recovery , the last thing I wanted to do was start another recovery group.


But as I prayed about it and considered what the next layer of healing would look like after the breakup of my marriage , I kept hearing God say, “Your pain is grief”.  Actually, it was about all I could hear Him say until I finally called my friend and told her I would join her stinkin’ grief group. 🙂

What I learned is that I had to say goodbye to some things.  Not just the marriage.  But the hope I had for it, the expectations, the pain.  It was the only way to move forward.


Grief isn’t fun.  But sometimes it’s necessary.  And God meets us in that place.  “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” Mt 5:4 (MSG)


God is doing a new thing. He has a new word, a redeemed plan, a new work He wants to do. He is making a way for you…even in that place where there seems like there is no way.  Often, it is in the context of  “desert” or “wilderness” circumstances that He does some of His best work.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? ?I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19


Don’t let the former things keep you from what God has for you today. Are you ready to move past the past?

PS.  We are here for you! To request a mentor, find out about support groups or to request a care package, click HERE.






Harmony Karen Press picHarmony (Dust) Grillo

Founder/Executive Director


Harmony Dust founded Treasures in 2003 while completing a Master’s in Social Welfare at UCLA. To date, she has trained outreach leaders that have gone on to establish more than 97 sex industry outreaches on 5 continents. She has been featured in various media sources, including Glamour Magazine, The Dr. Drew Show, and The Tyra Banks Show. She is a sought after speaker and her memoir, Scars & Stilettos, gives an account of the journey of going from working in strip clubs, to leading an organization that reaches women in the sex industry on a global scale.



TWITTER      @harmonydust  |  @treasuresla

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Comments 14

  1. Christopher Trimm

    The trials that the Lord has lead us through never return void, they are useful for “instruction in righteousness.” I am built up, i.e. made stronger, in the Body of Christ. In spite of myself, I’m redeemed through the redemptive grace of Jesus as emulated through the overarching power in people like yourself, Harmony. Thank you for these words of wisdom as they tear down strongholds in my life (:

  2. adagraha

    I’m going through “The Grief Recovery Handbook” now and it’s fascinating to me how misunderstood grief is in our culture. “Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.” It can be so much more than dealing with the loss of a loved one, like so may assume. It is our natural inclination to grieve change. We all experience change therefore, we all grieve something at some point. I’m learning how important it is to deal with that grief – whatever it may be, head on. Acknowledge it, accept it for what it is, and invite the healing power of God into that circumstance.

    I LOVE that we serve a God embraces us in our grief and WILL restore us in complete healing.

    So good Harm!

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      Harmony Dust

      Thanks Adam… Tough to go through but such a necessary part of the process. “Good grief” is what I say Charlie Brown:)

  3. Jason

    “When we get stuck in a pattern of idealizing the past, we are never able to embrace the “new thing”. ”

    So true in both the highs and lows of the past that we get stuck on. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been on a journey (nearly all year) of moving forward and not being defined by my past or what I’ve come through. I totally agree that the focus shift is pivotal. The past can be such a distraction on so many levels to the great things God still wants to do in and around us.

    Thanks for putting this to words, Harmony.

  4. Nissa

    Harmony – This is awesome! I think you have summed up what holds most people back. It takes such courage to move forward, even if we know it will be so much better than the past. Good for you for continuing to process your grief so that you can be free! I know I am working on this myself and sometimes I feel like I don’t have the energy. Then I remember that my God is strong in my weakness and I lean into Him, trusting in His strength and goodness!

  5. Justin Zehr

    Rad words Harmony!

    I have to tell you this is so relevant to me right now. I realize that sometimes I like to pretend that I have put things in my past but then I still bring the little things up in conversations. Every time I bring it up, even if it is emotionally discussing it, I keep giving life to the hurts and mistakes. I’m beginning to realize that God wants me to use the hurts of my past to build energy and momentum, but that I shouldn’t just continue to give life to things that are already done in a way that will zap all of my energy and strength. I want to be ready to receive and be filled with the future things that God has for me, but if I keep zapping all of my life and energy on the negative I feel like there is no room for the new! I want to focus on the the things that God wants to grow, so that they can do just that, grow!

    So true Harmony!

  6. Anastasia

    Well, I know you as the wonderful, beautiful Woman of God who saves lives, who loves and I am glad to be apart of your past, present and future. You have walked beside me and mentored me into seeing what God has in store for me. I am grateful to be apart of your vision and Gods. I love that he uses you to PREACH girl!!! XOXO

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  9. Deide McNeilly

    Dear Harmony,
    Your book and website was recommended to me by a lady I met in Miami at a church that was speaking on Human Trafficking . I started a ministry several months ago called Hidden Treasures in Stuart Fla that is a strip club outreach to just one local club at this time and the Lord is so moving in this place . I stepped out in obedience to the Lord’s prompting( a long story ) . I was not a stripper but started early in life being exposed to drugs ,alchohol and unhealthy sexual surroundings . 2 marriages later and an emotional breakdown has taken me through a journey of healing over the last 5 years of a very wounded heart much in the same areas that your story mentions . My heart is to share this healing power of our Jesus as He has so unconditionally done for me and share how He redeems our souls for His glory !So grateful for your story and your willingness to expose your life so others might find hope . I hope to order more in the future to pass along to the managers and girls we are serving but the first book I hope to give them very soon is God’s word. I will be in prayer for your ministry and hope you will lift ours up as well as you feel lead.

    By His Grace


  10. Stephen Robbins

    Thank you Harmony Dust for your message that I just read. As i stuggle with my Porn Addiction, I need all the help that I can find. I can say that I left God out of my life to get this addiction, now Im grasping for all kinds of help.

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